Belmont University

This article is about the university in Tennessee. For the college in Ohio, see Belmont College.
Belmont University
Motto "From here to anywhere"
Type Private
Established 1890
Affiliation Christian (nondenominational)
Endowment $90.9 million[1]
President Robert Fisher
Academic staff
779 (2015) [2]
Students 7,350 (2015) [2]
Undergraduates 5,983 [2]
Postgraduates 1,367[2]
Location Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Campus Urban, 75 acres (263,000 m²)
Colors Red and Blue[3]
Athletics NCAA Division IOVC
Sports 15 varsity teams
(7 men's and 8 women's)
Nickname Bruins
Mascot Bruiser the Bruin
Belmont (Acklen Hall)
Location Belmont Blvd.
Nashville, Tennessee
Built 1850
Architect William Strickland
Architectural style Greek Revival; Italianate
NRHP Reference # 71000816
Added to NRHP May 6, 1971

Belmont University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. It is the largest Christian university in Tennessee and the second largest private university in the state, behind nearby Vanderbilt University.


Belmont Mansion

Belmont Mansion was the home of Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham,[4] a wealthy Nashville socialite and businesswoman. Built in 1850, it was one of the most elaborate antebellum homes in the South, with 36 rooms and 19,000 sq ft (1,800 m2) in size.[5] The estate contained an art gallery, conservatories, bowling alley, lavish gardens, aviary, lake and a zoo (which was then subsequently opened to the public). In 1887 Acklen Cheatham sold the estate to a group which intended to develop it into a subdivision, but in 1889 the mansion and 13 acres of its grounds became the home of Belmont Seminary for Women, run by Miss Susan Heron and Miss Ida Hood.[6] This school merged with Ward Seminary in 1913 and was known as Ward—Belmont College, which included both a junior college and college-prep (or high) school for women.[7][8] Today it is owned by Belmont University but maintained by the Belmont Mansion Association, a non-profit group. The mansion is open for tours and features Victorian art and furnishings. The water tower, gardens, with surviving gazebos and outdoor statuary from the Acklen era, are part of the college campus.[9]

Nashville's first radio station

The first radio station in Nashville went on air in May 1922 when John "Jack" DeWitt, Jr., a 16-year-old high school student, installed a twenty-watt transmitter at Belmont. The station, WDAA, was born when Doctor C. E. Crosland, Associate President, realized the potential advertising value to the college of a radio station. The WDAA program on April 18, 1922, marked the first time a music program was broadcast in Nashville. The broadcast could be heard 150 to 200 miles (320 km) from the school.[10] DeWitt later became WSM (AM) radio station's chief engineer, 1932–1942, and president, 1947–1968.[11]


Rankings and recognition

Belmont was cited as "School to Watch" in 2009 for its innovative programs.[12] U.S. News & World Report ranked it number 5 of masters-degree universities[13] in the South.[14] For the applicant class of 2008–09, Belmont admitted 63% of its applicants[15] (only 35% of business students admitted as freshman[16]), and half of those students matriculated. The average ACT score for the 2012–2013 admitted class is 26.43. 35% of new freshmen at Belmont were in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, and 62 percent were in the top quarter.[2] This includes 33 valedictorians and 19 salutatorians with the incoming class holding an average cumulative high school GPA of 3.5.[17] Approximately 81% of entering freshman return for their sophomore year. The overall graduation rate for Belmont is 66%.[18] Rolling Stone and Time Magazine have both ranked Belmont University as having one of the "top music business schools" in the United States.[19]

Academic programs

Belmont University offers bachelor's degrees in over 75 academic majors in seven colleges with 20 master’s and four doctoral programs.[20] Belmont and HCA created a health sciences consortium with local universities to alleviate the shortage of nurses and health care professionals in the local community,[21] and provides students with shared office space and mentoring from faculty, local entrepreneurs and attorneys.[22] New Century Journalism students have gained work experience at The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Daily Show, CBS Evening News, and British Broadcasting Corp.[23]

Music and music business programs

Belmont is home to the only AACSB International accredited Music Business program in the world.[24]

Belmont's Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business (CEMB) consists of current/former authors, performers, expert witnesses (for industry lawsuits), artist managers, lawyers, record label executives, songwriters, and others. Mike Curb is the CEO of Curb Records. He was a producer, songwriter and company executive and one of the most successful record men of the sixties and seventies. He is the department's namesake.[25] The former dean of the CEMB, Jim Van Hook, is a legendary Nashville label head, especially as part of the Christian music industry. One of the hallmarks of the program is its internship program, which sends hundreds of students annually out into the Nashville, New York, and Los Angeles music industries to intern for record labels, management companies, publishing companies, booking agencies, publicists, recording studios, law firms, and other businesses. Belmont recently began a university-affiliated publishing company, Bruin Publishing, to give student songwriters, engineers, and musicians the chance to create and publish student music directly funneled into the music industry and to give students a genuine industry experience. Bruin Publishing was founded by student Kevin Grosch.[26]

Besides having three professional-quality recording studios on campus, Belmont owns the Belmont Studios (including Ocean Way Nashville), part of which is operated for-profit (used by such artists as Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, and Bob Seger), and part of which is used by students. Belmont also operates historic RCA Studio B (formerly used by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Dolly Parton), in conjunction with the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Curb Family Foundation. In addition, the music business program operates Belmont West and Belmont East, which enable students to spend a semester learning about and interning in the entertainment industries in Los Angeles and New York City, respectively.

Schools and colleges


Main campus (Nashville)

The Belmont Mansion

In June 2006, Belmont opened the new $18 million Gordon E. Inman Center that now houses the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing.[27] A state-of-the-art facility, which was financed primarily by Nashville businessman Gordon E. Inman and the HCA TriStar Health System, the building has three stories of classroom space that contain learning labs equipped with Sim Man mannequins that respond to the actions of the nursing students. Additionally, there are classrooms centered on both adult and pediatric occupational therapy, maternity and neonatal care complete with Sim Man babies and a birthing Sim Woman, orthopedics lab, and many classrooms of various sizes.

Belmont also houses the Curb Event Center, a 5000-seat multi-purpose arena, which is used for basketball games, concerts, and other events like the 2006, 2007[28] and 2008 CMT Awards,[29] and the 2008 Presidential Debate.[30] The facility is connected to the Beaman Student Life Center and Maddox Grand Atrium—collectively, a $52 million development.

Regional campus

National campuses

Student life

Belmont has over 80 student organizations. These include Student Government, Program Board now SAPB, Greek Life, as well as other special interest organizations.

The largest student organization on campus is Service Corps, which focuses on volunteer work inside the Music Industry and is open only to students enrolled in the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business.[31]

Belmont's Greek community consists of five sororities and three fraternities. The sororities are Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Sigma Tau, Delta Sigma Theta, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Phi Mu. The fraternities include Alpha Tau Omega, Phi Kappa Tau and Alphas. Approximately 5% of the student body is Greek. Belmont Panhellenic is the second largest student organization on campus with over 300 members. There is also an interest group for Kappa Alpha Psi.

Belmont has a large Music program, and a variety of musical ensembles exist on the campus. There are currently 13 vocal ensembles and 22 instrumental ensembles.[32] In addition, there are two student-run a cappella groups, a coed group named The Beltones, and an all-male group named Pitchmen. Belmont is home to two Greek-lettered music fraternities, Sigma Alpha Iota and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, as well as a chapter for the National Theatre fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega.

Belmont operates four private television stations called BTV (local Comcast stations for its residents), as well as one student newspaper called The Vision, published monthly.[33]

Students may also become involved through special interest organizations including, but not limited to Bolting Belmont Bruins running club, Service Corps, SAPB which hosts "Fall Follies" yearly, the Psychology Club and The M.O.B. (Motivational Organization of Belmont) which supports athletics. Students are encouraged to get involved. If a club does not exist for a student's interests, they are encouraged to start one, though not all student-proposed groups are officially chartered right away. In the 2009 and 2010 academic years, the university decided not to charter Belmont Bridge Builders (whose purpose would have been to explore various LGBT issues and Christian faith), and a university dialogue group was started instead. However, the Bridge Builders group was finally approved in the spring of 2011.[34]

Points of interest

Main campus attractions

Off-campus facilities


Main article: Belmont Bruins

Belmont is a member of the NCAA Division I and is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference in all of Belmont's sports except men's soccer, which the OVC does not sponsor. Until July 1, 2012, Belmont had been a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, a non-football conference.[36] The men's soccer team was most recently an independent before joining the Horizon League effective with the 2014 season.[37]

In the mid-1990s, Belmont changed its nickname to the "Bruins", replacing the earlier mascot of Rebels due to its association with the Confederacy. Bruin is Middle English for bear from the Dutch fable "History of Reynard the Fox," translated by William Caxton.[38]

In 2011 Belmont student-athletes won the Atlantic Sun Conference Academic Trophy for the eight time in ten years with 76.32 per cent of the student-athletes achieving at least a 3.0 grade-point average.[39]

In 2012 Belmont student-athletes won the Ohio Valley Conference Institutional Academic Achievement Award for the first time after joining the conference last year.[40]

Presidential debate

See also Nashville Townhall Debate of the 2008 Presidential Election
One of the on-campus advertisements for the Presidential Debate at Belmont

On November 19, 2007, The Commission on Presidential Debates officially chose Belmont University to host one of three Presidential election debates on October 7, 2008.[41] President Bob Fisher gave a press conference on November 19 announcing the news, expressing great excitement towards the opportunity to be a part of something so historic. He added: "It is an amazing honor, a tremendous responsibility and a fantastic opportunity for all of us. We will be privileged to see the frontlines of the political process and engage with a vast array of professionals and scholars, all while witnessing the significant benefits this event will have on our university and the local Nashville community." Belmont was chosen out of sixteen finalists. The Debate at Belmont was different from the others in that it was a "town-hall" style debate. In a Town-Hall debate, questions are fielded from the audience. Belmont announced in April 2011 that they have applied to host one of the 2012 presidential election debates.[42]

Separation from the Tennessee Baptist Convention

Belmont severed its ties from the Tennessee Baptist Convention in 2007, when the university announced it would be a Christian university without any denominational affiliations.

In 1951, Ward-Belmont College, the finishing school operated in Nashville by Ward-Belmont, Inc., was facing severe financial difficulties. To relieve those problems, the school entered into a relationship with the TBC. Under the terms of that relationship, the Tennessee Baptist Convention provided the school with financial support and in exchange was granted certain management rights related to the school. In particular, all of the members of the school's Board of Trustees were required to hold membership in a Baptist church.

In 2005 Belmont's Board of Trustees sought to remove Belmont University from the control of the Tennessee Baptist Convention while remaining in a "fraternal relationship" with it. Advocates of this plan presented a blueprint for change in which all board members would be Christians but only 60 percent would be Baptists in order to affirm a Christian affinity while acknowledging the diversity of both the faculty and the student body. The head of the TBC would continue to be an ex officio board member. The TBC rejected this plan.

In November 2005 The Tennessean reported that the TBC would increase its funding of two other institutions, Union University and Carson-Newman College by the amount previously given to Belmont and Belmont would replace the three percent of its budget that was funded by the TBC; this announcement seemed to mark the end of the matter. However, on April 7, 2006 The Tennessean reported that the TBC would seek to oust the existing board and replace it with one consisting entirely of Southern Baptists and amenable to ongoing TBC control.

After settlement talks failed, the Tennessee Baptist Convention Executive Board filed a lawsuit on September 29, 2006 against Belmont seeking the return of approximately $58,000,000.

On November 14, 2007, Nashville media reported that a settlement of this suit had been reached before trial. Under its terms, the TBC and Belmont would disaffiliate amicably, with Belmont agreeing to pay one million dollars to the convention immediately, and $250,000 annually for the next forty years, for a total cost of $11,000,000. The University has stated its intent to maintain a Christian identity, but no longer a specifically Baptist one.[43]

Lisa Howe controversy

Belmont University became a catalyst for anti-discrimination protests in December 2010, when women's soccer coach Lisa Howe allegedly lost her job at the university on December 2 after announcing that she was having three children with her same sex partner.[44] Howe's dismissal sparked protests from students and from local and national gay-rights advocates. These events led to a city-wide anti-discrimination ordinance being passed by the Nashville City Council in January 2011.[45] On January 26, 2011, President Bob Fisher announced that Belmont has added sexual orientation to the university's non-discrimination policies.[46] Belmont is a Christian university which was widely regarded for its progressive ideals until the controversy broke out over Howe's departure.[47] The college was criticized for not allowing a group with a mission to support gay students and explore the intersection of Christianity and homosexuality called Bridge Builders to officially form as a student group. At a news conference, Fisher stated that they had resubmitted the application.[47] On February 27, 2011, Belmont University officially recognized the gay student organization for the first time. Belmont Provost Thomas Burns and Bridge Builders President Robbie Maris announced the decision to recognize the student group in a joint statement.[48]

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


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Coordinates: 36°08′08″N 86°47′48″W / 36.13553°N 86.79661°W / 36.13553; -86.79661

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